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Post-stroke dysphagia: prognosis and treatment -- a systematic review of RCT on interventional treatments for dysphagia following subacute stroke
Balcerak P, Corbiere S, Zubal R, Kagi G
Frontiers in Neurology 2022 Apr 25;13(823189):Epub
systematic review

PURPOSE: Post-stroke dysphagia is an underdiagnosed but relevant complication, associated with worse outcome, dependency and quality of life of stroke survivors. Detailed mechanisms of post-stroke dysphagia are not very well understood, but established therapeutic concepts are needed. Different interventional studies have been published dealing with post-stroke dysphagia. This systematic review wants to collect and give an overview over the published evidence. METHODS: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, CINAHL were searched for relevant interventional studies on post-stroke dysphagia in the (sub-)acute setting (within 3 months of stroke onset). The search has been filtered for randomized trials with an inactive control and the relevant data extracted. RESULTS: After initially finding 2,863 trials, finally 41 trials have been included. Seven different therapeutic concepts have been evaluated (acupuncture, behavioral/physical therapy, drug therapy, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, pharyngeal electrical stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation). Studies of all modalities have shown some effect on post-stroke dysphagia with several studies raising concerns about the potential bias. CONCLUSION: The amount and quality of studies are not enough to suggest certain therapies. Some therapeutical concepts (intensive physical therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, drug therapy) seem to be good potential therapeutic options, but further research is needed.

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